IIT-B recreates Dandi March with 80 life-size sculptures

Published: 09 November, 2013 07:06 IST | Kranti Vibhute |

Sculpting a chapter in history, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-Bombay) began the first session of a workshop to etch out the Dandi Marchers on November 7

Twenty sculptors from different parts of the country have come together to participate in the project, which aims to make a National Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial.

Miniatures of the marchers designed for the National Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial project are seen displayed at IIT-Bombay

In 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced a countrywide project called National Salt Satyagraha Memorial at Dandi, Gujarat, a project of the Union ministry of culture, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Dandi March movement. The whole project cost Rs 66 crore.

IIT Bombay has been charged with the responsibility to design, coordinate and implement the memorial project. As part of this project, IIT Bombay is organising two workshops in November from 7-24 and in December from 7-22 this year, with a countrywide participation to create the life-size sculptures of the 80 marchers.

A reflection of the Mahatma
The November workshop was inaugurated by Justice CS Dharmadhikari, in the presence of Dr Sudarshan Iyengar, vice-chancellor, Gujarat Vidyapeeth; renowned sculptor Sadashiv Sathe, Tushar Gandhi, managing trustee, Mahatma Gandhi Foundation; Professor D V Khakhar, director of the institute and Professor B K Chakravarthy, head of the institute’s Industrial Design Centre (IDC). During the inauguration, justice Dharmadhikari said, “You will be presenting Gandhiji to the world through this memorial. It should be a reflection of his thoughts and philosophy.”

The workshop attracted 41 people from across the country to voluntarily be a part of this project. The first sculpture-making workshop saw 20 participants from Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The second workshop, in December, has 21 students and sculptors from Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Sri Lanka, United States, Austria, Bulgaria, Japan, Myanmmar, Tibet and United Kingdom registered.

Kirti Trivedi, professor, IDC and principal investigator of the project, said, “The whole project itself cost Rs 66 crore and only the making the sculptures costs about Rs 10 crore. IIT-Bombay got the approval for this project in 2011 by the central government and the funds were released this year.” “We visited several art and sculpture schools in other states and invited students and experts to participate in this project.

Right now, miniatures of the marchers whom we could recognize after a research have been made. Now these miniatures will be used as reference to make the life-sized sculptures by the students and expert sculptors.” The participants will be rewarded with Gandhi miniatures as a token. The clay statues made at the workshop will be on permanent display at the Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial at Dandi.

A series of talks on Gandhian philosophy and methodology will also be held during the two workshops. In addition to this, several films and documentaries such as Gandhi, Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-Violent Conflict, Mahatma: Life of MK Gandhi, Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years will be screened.

Memorial plan
The main memorial will include a statue of Gandhi inside a pyramid of light, followed by the life-size sculptures of the 80 marchers who participated in the Salt March. Two stylised hands raised skyward, holding a handful of salt crystals, will form the canopy under which the main Gandhi sculpture will be placed. The hands would have solar panels mounted within them with an LED searchlight floor, mounted around the rim of the base pedestal. With the light levels lowered in the evenings, a pyramid of light will rise up in the sky, illuminating the salt crystal at the apex.

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